Saturday, April 30, 2011

Haven't you always been told that sweets were bad for you??

I am a guest blogger tonight (Spence) because Louise thinks I'm better at explaining technical medical situations. Louise has a new medical situation that will effect her eating habits from now on. These new eating habits will keep her feeling well and hopefully will stabilize her weight a bit. It better because otherwise I can't afford her anymore. She has had two complete wardrobe changes since Christmas. She has lost so much weight that she has to give away all of her new clothes every two months and buy new smaller ones. All the charities love us. Every 2 months they get brand new clothes with the store tags still on them. Anyway, back to her medical update.

We were starting to get very concerned with Louises sick feeling she would get after eating meals. Within 10 minutes after eating she would feel very full and bloated. She would be nauseated, feel hot, shakey, very fatigued and just generally rotten. It was happening now almost every day. So we went to the GI doctor that she, in an earlier blog, threw under the bus. He ordered the endoscopy and next week's pet scan because he was so concerned that it might be cancer back. As you already know, the endoscopy proved that her new esopha/stomach looked "as good as it could look" (in his words). He then told us her problem was caused by a situation called "dumping syndrome". He was sure of it and told us to go research it. On Friday we saw the oncologist but we met with the cancer dietician before that visit. When we told her that the doctor thought Louise's problem was dumping syndrome, she was sure also that it was. She described the symptoms to us and they were exactly what she was having. She knew exactly what foods were causing it. They were the same foods I had already guessed. Any food that was high in concentrated processed simple sugars was the culprit. Every time Louise would drink an Ensure, Boost, Carnation Instant Breakfast or milk shake (all of which are high in concentrated sugars) she would have the symptoms.

Here is what dumping syndrome is: It happens with over 80% of the people who have had recent surgery of the stomach where they have cut out part of the stomach and especially with people like Louise who have no more valves to prevent undigested food to escape too quickly to the small intestines. And that is what happens, certain foods with high simple sugar (not natural fructose from fruits)leave the stomach too fast and overwhelm the intestines. They are not easily absorbed from the intestines. The body then pulls fluids from the body's cells to dilute the undigested food so that it can be absorbed. The robbing of fluids from the cells then dehydrates the body and fouls up the blood sugar chemistry in the body. The body releases too much insulin into the blood stream also. All of these changes caused by this "dumping" of the stomach to the intestines causes all of the symptoms that she has had. 10 days ago, when we stopped making her drink the Ensures and the milk shakes to help her gain weight, her sick symptoms ended. The dietician said that complex carbohydrates and high fiber, high protien type items will help prevent this dumping syndrome to happen. She can also lay down for 30 minutes after a meal so that gravity doesn't also cause the dumping. Louise picked up quickly on that. She loves to lay down any chance she gets.

Her new diet will be to eat things such as pasta, breads, nuts apples, pears, carrots, spinach, meats, butter, mayo, salad dressings, salads, eggs, fish, yogurt, cheese and peanut butter. She will not eat Ensures, etc., soda, jams, syrup, cakes, pies, candy, doughnuts, cookies (cookie dough). How will she ever survive without eating her own famous cookies. I can't imagine not eating some of those sweet things. I might choose to live with the symptoms if it were me. But you know what, she has had no craving for any of those sweet things since her surgery. Her body naturally retards her appetite for things that will make her sick.

So that's it. That is what has made her sick and now we feel so confident that we have solved that problem with diet. My biggest question in all of this is why the surgeon or the GI doctor never warned us of this happening. You can read it and understand it so easily from the internet. If it happens 80% of the time to people like Louise who have had this type of surgery, you would think that would be on some of the documents going home with you from the hospital or it would be the first guess the GI doctor would make after hearing the symptoms. Why put her through an endoscopy when the situation and symptoms point exactly to "dumping syndrome." Ya know, my new profession is going to teach medicine and doctor's bedside manor to doctors. I don't need 12 years of school. I just need experience with patients and google and I am set.

Anyway, after reading this blog, you too are an expert on dumping syndrome. We are so pleased with Louise's much improved health!!

Thanks for reading, Spence

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Good News from the Doc

Well, it was good news from the endoscopy! In fact, the doctor said it couldn't have been better. Now, THAT'S the kind of news we love to hear! He said that the stomach looked exactly how it should look. So we are very happy and thankful. Next Wednesday I get to have a pet scan to see if there are any traces of cancer in there...but for now, we will just rejoice in this latest news. For all of us, in whatever we are dealing with, life is kind of a roller coaster, isn't it? We are at the top of the roller coaster right now, and we are happy about that. Hang on in whatever part of the roller coaster you happen to be on right now.

To make things even better, I heard from each of my kids today--so nice to know they care and are thinking of me. That made my day. Love to all of you, Louise

Monday, April 25, 2011

News from doctor

In all the excitement of having my friend, Sharie, here, I forgot to tell about my last doctor's appointment. It was last Tuesday with the GI doctor...and it wasn't a great appointment. Most of us have had an experience with a doctor who doesn't have much of a bedside manner, and this visit was one of those classic ones. It seemed like anything that Spence or I said, he had some negative thing to say about it. We were concerned about my stomach problems. They seemed to be related to when I drink milk or milk-type products. We mentioned that to him, and he pretty much discounted our opinions. Later on, when Spence said that it made me feel yucky when I ate things related to milk, he said, "Well, then don't feed her milk products." The whole appointment was kind of like that, where he discounted everything that we said. He told us later then to avoid milk products, and to eat more pasta and breads--in other words, load up on the calories. I had lost more weight since our last appointment, and he was not happy with that. He used the words that I was doing "bad," which wasn't a great thing to say to me that day (I don't like going to the doctor about my cancer anyway, so saying that I wasn't doing well was very discouraging to me)...and then he prescribed me to do some blood work, and have another endoscopy (which I'm doing on Wednesday of this week), and to schedule a pet see if there is any more evidence of cancer. Needless to say, I came away from that appointment, discouraged. However, Spence and I both know that they need to do these tests to see how I'm it's all part of the process. Once I got away from that negative appointment, I got better--and now I'm ready to go through more testing.

Since I haven't drunk any Ensure or Boost, or had any milk shakes, I seem to be doing better. That may just be a coincidence, but whatever it is, it is nice not to feel sick after eating. My brother-in-law was amazed at all the food I took at Easter, and that I could eat it. :) So I am doing better.

We really had a nice Easter--we went to church, of course, and I even got to teach a Sunday School lesson--that was fun. Then we went to Spence's sister's house in Mesa, and had a good visit there. I laid down after dinner, and was totally entertained by the little grandchildren who were there. We had a great time talking! Well, hopefully everything will check out okay with these tests--I'll keep you posted, when I know something. Take care, and have a great day. Love you, Louise

Saturday, April 23, 2011

I Believe in Christ

Hello everyone. Happy Easter! Thank you all for reassuring me that my blog is still being read. :) I guess I hadn't heard from some of you, and was beginning to wonder if I was just writing, and no one was reading. Thanks for building me up again!! :)

It has been a busy week for me. My dearest friend from forever ago (we became friends in the 4th grade!) was here for a few days, and we just had the best time. She is one of those people who you can do practically nothing with...and you still have fun. I love her very much. (I'll put pictures in a future entry). Even driving to Dairy Queen to bring a car to my daughter was a fun adventure. That is how it is when I'm with my friend, Sharie!

One of the things we did was to go over to our Arizona Temple grounds to see the annual Easter pageant. They set up a large stage right there on the temple grounds, and portray the life of Christ. It takes just a little over an hour, and it is a beautiful production. There is music and dancing and narration...and it is such a touching and profound way to truly celebrate what Easter is really about--the resurrection of the Savior, Jesus Christ. So today I just wanted to share with all of you my feelings about my Savior. I love Him--I honor Him as the Son of our Heavenly Father, who came to earth to show us the way to live. His is the perfect example of how we can be like our Father in Heaven. He is there to save and redeem us, and through Him, we can return to our Heavenly Father. Through what He did in the Garden of Gethsemane, and on the cross, He has made it possible for us to live with Father in Heaven again. He took upon Himself all of our sins and suffered for them--and if we acknowledge our own personal sins and repent of them, through His atonement, we can be made clean...and live with Heavenly Father again. His was the supreme act of love and sacrifice, and He did it because of His love for us. I am extremely grateful for Him, and pray that I can be worthy of His great sacrifice...because my greatest hope is to live with Him and His Father again. I hope and pray that all of us will consider what He has done for us...and truly rejoice that He has made eternal life possible for all of us. So have a happy and meaningful Easter. Much love always, Louise

Monday, April 18, 2011

Monday's Update

Hello everyone. I'm not sure if there are many of you reading this anymore, but I'll write anyway. I am including a picture of me on my birthday at Outback, where they brought us this yummy sundae (perfect size!), and all of us devoured it! It didn't take too long. :) I also am putting a picture in of me with my niece who just came to visit me, Meg Adair. I will put in one more crazy picture of her with Kelsey--my favorite pictures are the funny ones, where people put on their crazy faces! So enjoy them all. :)

I am doing pretty well. We are going to the GI doctor tomorrow. As I have written, I have had some stomach problems--I am trying to watch what I eat, to see if there is any pattern as to when I start feeling badly. It's more just a yucky feeling, rather than being totally nauseated. However, yesterday at Church I felt badly and sat outside in my car for all of sacrament meeting. After a while the feeling seems to pass, but it happens more often than we would like. We don't really know the cause of it--if it is remnants of my surgery, if it's because my plumbing has been changed,or if it's just feeling badly from time to time. We would like answers, but sometimes those are hard to get.

I have been working out at the cancer center. My arms are really stiff, and it is hard for me to reach for things. So the trainer there is working with me on trying to get those muscles to stretch, and to get them stronger. I wish this "process" was over, and everything could go back to normal...but so much for wishing! Anyway, that's about it from here. I hope you all are doing well. Love always, Louise

Friday, April 15, 2011

Happy Friday to you all!

It has been a whole week since I've written. I thought that was super nice of myy sister, Laura, to make an entry on my birthday. Thanks for all your kind wishes and words--I had a wonderful day. I broke out of my normal routine, and went over to my sister-in-law's scrapbooking store, where she now has fabric...and took a quilting class. It was so much fun! I even went out to lunch too, and had fun there. But, as usual, I was pretty wiped out when I got home. :) Still don't have the energy that I would like to have.

I also went out to lunch with a friend on Wednesday, and that was good too. However, I have kind of "paid the price" this week for going a little more than usual...and guess I still need to pace myself better. I am still having some stomach problems--we're not sure if it is just my body getting adjusted to my new "plumbing" or if it's related to what I eat. But I need to be very careful not to eat too much...and I still struggle because I have very little desire to eat. It is still a learning process, and I am still in recovery mode, although i would like to deny that!

I am so thankful to be taking less pills. Like I said last week, I am off the cumadin, and so don't have to have blood work taken every week. (My arm was starting to look a little like a pin cushion!) I am also off the Flagell for the C-Dif, and am hoping with all my heart to be done with C-Dif forever!

I get calls almost daily from Katie, my daughter, who just got engaged...and we are happy that now we can officially work on her wedding plans. (We were working on them, but now we have the official "go ahead" to do whatever needs to get done). Once again I am working on a wedding long-distance. It would be nice if we could be closer to work on some of these things together...but thank heavens for phones and emails, and other ways of communication. :) Well, that's about it for today. I have been taking some walks with my dog this week, and we both enjoy that. Have a good Friday. Love to all, Louise

Monday, April 11, 2011

Celebrate Louise Day!

Today is Celebrate Louise Day! It is her birthday and we are thrilled to be celebrating my sweet sister. She is my hero: I love her strength, sense of humor, kindness, sassyness, attentiveness, and loving spirit. We are especially thankful today for our Father's hand on her life, her tenacity against cancer, her surgeon, the Roxy and the Zappers Team, her home team (Kelsey, Brady and Spence), her friends who feed, transport and encourage her, her hobbies (thanks Marty for fanning that fire), and of course, her fave: Ensure, keeping her from wasting away. It takes a village to keep a woman whole. It takes a village to love and celebrate her. So let's do it! She's worth it!!!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Great Family News!!

I apologize for the kind of lame blog entries I just posted...but I'm making up for it by announcing our BIG news of the week--Katie, our daughter, is OFFICIALLY engaged! We are so excited. I am posting a picture of them, which shows how truly happy she is (and he is too!) He proposed in a very creative and romantic way--when we heard about it, both Kelsey and I just SIGHED! He made a scavenger hunt, and they went to several places where they had some memories (and some former dates). They ended up on a mountain where they had hiked, and looked out over Logan and seen the temple. It was there that they first talked about getting married in the temple. He had a table set up with a tablecloth, flowers,an oil lantern, and some sparkling cider resting in a wine cooler thing that was filled with SNOW! He even brought his laptop and had a slide show of pictures of them. Then he got down on his knee, and proposed! WOW--we were super impressed at all that he did to make it so special for her. :) The one thing he couldn't do is to stop it from snowing! That is Utah for you--snow in April! So now Katie and Cody truly are official--and we'll have a wedding on August 5th! We are all thrilled.

Just a sidelight about me. I went to have an ultrasound this week to see how my blood clot was doing. It is now in an "insignificant vein" (Did you know that some veins are more significant than others?!), and therefore is not a threat to me. SO I am off the cumadin!! Hooray--I love taking less pills. I am also not taking the pill for the C-Dif anymore...and truly hope that I will never get that horrible stuff again. So, now my week is freed up...and I don't have to have my blood drawn every week. Life is getting better and better!

Anyway, here is a cute picture of Katie and Cody--we hope you will rejoice with them in their happiness--it is such a neat time for them. :)
Much love always, Louise

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Ok--don't ask me how that happened. I was just typing along, and all of a sudden, it said that it had published my post--still I'm technologically challenged! (Sometimes I feel like the computer has TURNED on me!)

I have been feeling pretty well. Today I was talking on the phone, and all of a sudden I didn't feel so well, so I got off...and just rested. I don't know if that's post-op feelings, or just the fact that my body is old and tired. But whatever--I still take a break, and then usually I feel better.

I have worked out twice at the cancer center, and hope to be able to do it again tomorrow. I am now up to a grand total of 20 minutes of exercising--every little bit is a little triumph. I love those "trainers" in there--they make everyone feel like they are a champion, just for being there. I really don't have much to tell today, so I'll say good-night. Have a happy Friday
It's been a couple of days since I've written. Next time I'll post a picture, but I still haven't downloaded the latest from my camera. This week our visitors have been my niece, Meg Adair, and her fiance, Kevin McCall. It has been great to visit with them. Unfortunately, it has been 3 1/2 years since I've seen Adair. It is lots of fun to be with her, and she has much to say--so there is never a lag in the conversation. :)

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Love that Kelsey Girl!!

I just enjoyed a great weekend, listening to our General Conference. We listen to talks from many of our leaders, and it is very inspiring and uplifting. It always seems to come at the right time--when I am feeling depleted spiritually and need a spiritual "boost." I am so thankful for leaders who are in tune with Heavenly Father, and who encourage us to live in such a way that we can have His spirit to be with us.

I have not felt totally well the last few days. I have had an upset stomach at times, and I am experiencing more hot flashes--sigh, not fun! I'll talk to my doctor tomorrow, and hopefully get some ideas of what I should be doing. It has also been hotter temperature wise here, so that is part of my problem too! Today I took a 3-hour nap, so I still am not 100% on energy--still working on that. Last week I worked out 3 times at the cancer center, and did a little more each day. I also met with my oncologist for my once-a-month appointment, and I guess things are going along all right. This week I have an ultrasound to see if I still have the blood clot that I got in the hospital. But, on the whole, I am doing well.

I am posting a picture of me and my daughter, Kelsey. For those of you who have followed my blog, you have read several times about her. She has been an incredible help to me, and totally sacrificed to be with me and do errands for me, etc. She has really given me lots of service, and I love and appreciate her so much. I want to tell you about what she did for me this week that really touched me. I was bringing dinner into a friend, but had had a busy day already--gone to the doctor, worked out, gone grocery shopping. I was tired. I was talking on the phone to another one of my daughters, and said something about being tired. Kelsey wasn't in the same room, but she had overheard me. I went to rest for a minute before starting the dinner, and in she came, to tell me that she would make the casserole and the salad for these people. She wanted me to take a little rest so I could keep going for the rest of the day...and that's what she did--made the dinner basically for them. That is the kind of person Kelsey is--she is sensitive to people's needs and then goes out to serve them. She has done so many things for me and I am just so thankful for her. Truly she has been a great blessing in my life this year--I am going to miss her so much when she goes to college in the fall. To top it off tonight, she played the piano--I LOVE having her play the piano for me!! :) Anyway, that is a summary of my life for the past few days. Have a happy Monday--love to all, Louise